Adopting an Adorable Four-Year-old

My wife and I have thought about adoption for a few years and we finally decided that the time was right. So with help from a local organization, we recently welcomed a 4-year-old into our family. She’s so cute and loving – you’ll be amazed how many compliments we’ve received – and we wouldn’t change a thing about her, except perhaps her habit of barking at the mailman.

And even that isn’t so bad. She barks at him only on those days he puts bills in our mailbox. And she usually waits until I’m done barking at him.

She’s a black Labrador Retriever-Rottweiler mix and her name is Legacy. She came with that name, but I think it’s appropriate that she has the same name as our old car (Subaru Legacy), because just like that car, she’s parked in one spot most of the day. And sometimes we need to jump her to get her going.

We adopted her from an organization that rescues stray dogs from up north. They held an adoption fair and we went to check out the dogs. Within an hour or so, we were heading home with our new dog. They had asked us to fill a form and called one of our references, but it still amazed me how easy it was to adopt a dog. Had we tried to adopt a kid, the process would have taken months – and that’s just to get the “Official Certificate of Intention to Adopt and Raise a Baby Goat.”

Trust me, adopting dogs is much easier than adopting goats. My wife wants to raise goats (and other animals), but we’d have to move outside the city to do so. Having dogs and cats in the city is fine, but the moment the neighbors hear a “baaaa” or “maaaa” from your yard, a city official will be at your door, saying “naaaa.” He’ll want to take your goat away and no amount of pleading will make him change his mind, because not only have you violated the city’s rules, it’s also been a long time since he had goat stew.

That’s the good thing about having a dog. Nobody’s going to want to eat your dog, not even that Korean couple down the street. (Most Asians do not eat dog, never mind that the Beijing Bookstore keeps running out of copies of “Canine Casserole and Other Delicious Dishes.”)

Another good thing about having a dog is all the exercise you’ll get. You need to walk your dog a few times a day, unless you have a particularly smart dog and have managed to train it to use your toilet. (A squat toilet is ideal for this. After your dog has been there for a few minutes, you can turn to your spouse and say, “Oh, look – he didn’t do squat.”)

Most dogs are like hot dog vendors – they prefer to do their business outdoors. I have to clean up after Legacy a couple of times a day. I don’t mind it too much, but she has a strange way of saying ‘thank you’ – kicking back dirt in my face.

She actually thinks she’s covering up her mess with the dirt, but if it was acceptable to do that, you can bet I’d be walking around with a big bag of sand – and my neighbor’s kids would be building castles on their lawn.

If you have a dog, you can’t be overly concerned about hygiene. The other day, my wife took Legacy for a walk near a river and spotted a fish rotting in the sun. And what does a dog do when she sees a rotting fish? Yes, she rolled around on it. I don’t blame her. After all, it’s not every day that a dog gets to wear perfume. Not just any old perfume, but “Scent of Fish.”

The male dog at the end of our street went absolutely crazy when Legacy walked past his fence. I could tell, from his expression, what he was thinking: “Come to me, my love. You smell so delectable. I could lick you all over.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Robin in Bremerton says:

    Here in Bremerton our City Council is voting on an ordinance allowing residents to keep up to four chickens. I wrote a letter suggesting they expand it to allow goats. Check out my facebook page for pictures of my goat stew lunch.

    I belly laughed at several parts of your story.

  2. Nice!

  3. “And she usually waits until I’m done barking at him.” LOL!!

  4. Promod Sharma says:

    In India nobody’s heard of ‘Dog Adoption’. If you like a dog on the street put a lasso around it’s neck and pull it home. After a few days, your missus will be yelling at you ” either I or the dog goes ! Guess who goes ?

    Hint : easy riddance………

  5. Pam Cameron says:

    This is so funny! I love your writing.

  6. Your writing style is hilarious x

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